Getting started

Getting started in para equestrian has never been easier!

Parahi SI9 3896

Becoming a member

To enable you to access all of the support and competitions that we offer, the first place to start is to become a British Dressage member. You and your horse need to be a minimum of a Club member to get started and competing in the Bronze Rider group tests. If you then wish to attend a para championship and/or move up to the Silver/Gold Rider Group tests, you and your horse would then need to upgrade to a Full membership.



Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: please be aware all classification has currently been suspended due to the current coronavirus outbreak. For more more information please contact Felicity Towers at the BEF.

To compete in national competitions, all para equestrian riders have to be physically classified. Conducted through the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), the classification is completed by a physiotherapist who assesses mobility, strength and range of movement of the athlete. This allows any permanent physical impairment to be measured objectively.

As result of the assessment, the rider will be awarded with a profile that will place them into one of the five Grades (I, II, III, IV or V), as follows:

Grade I Mainly wheelchair users with impairment of all four limbs, may be able to walk with an unsteady gait, however trunk and balance are severely impaired.
Grade II                Mainly wheelchair users with poor trunk balance and/or impairment function in all four limbs, or no trunk balance and good upper limb function, or moderate trunk balance with severe impairment of all four limbs.
Grade III Mainly wheelchair users, or those with severe locomotor impairment involving trunk with good to mild upper limb function, or severe unilateral impairment.
Grade IV Riders are usually able to walk without support, with moderate unilateral impairment, or moderate impairment in four limbs, or severe arm impairment. Grade IV also includes riders with total loss of sight in both eyes.
Grade V Riders generally have impairment in one or two limbs, or some visual impairment.

Riders with visual impairment are assessed by a British Blind Sport ophthalmologist. Visually impaired riders interested in being classified need to contact British Blind Sport.

Intellectual disability doesn’t currently fall into the current FEI classification guidelines. For more information on classification, view the BEF's website:


Watch the video below for more information on classification in para sport:


Para dressage classes mirror the able bodied structure and are split into three sections – Bronze, Silver and Gold. There are also Para Intro Shows, created to help riders bridge the gap between RDA dressage competitions and affiliated British Dressage competitions. Visit our competitions section to find out how you can start competing with us:


Regional training

Para-equestrian dressage training is increasingly being organised within the regions, and usually costs £5-20 per session. To find out what is available in your area, speak to your Regional Development Officer (RDO) or regional para representative:


Become a member

Sign up to a British Dressage membership for exclusive benefits!